November 18, 2018

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Imported Cucumbers Grows

The Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak linked to cucumbers imported from Mexico has grown to include 81 people in 18 states. That is an increase of 8 new cases since the end of April. Sixteen people have been hospitalized, and there are no deaths reported.

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The outbreak numbers by state are as follows: Arizona (11), California (28), Colorado (1), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (9), Nevada (1), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Oregon (2), South Dakota (2), Texas (6), Virginia (3), and Wisconsin (2).  The new cases are in Arizona, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Illness onset dates range from January 12, 2013 to April 19, 2013. The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 89 years, with a median age of 27 years. Sixty-three percent of ill persons are female.

On April 24, 2013, the FDA placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico on Import Alert. That means that cucumbers from these two firms cannot be imported into the U.S. unless the suppliers can show they are not contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Public health officials believe that the contaminated cucumbers supplied by those two firms are no longer available in stores. Still, you should always follow safe produce handling recommendations. Never buy produce that is bruised, has broken skin, or is damaged. Keep produce refrigerated at all times. When purchasing prepared produce, buy packages with a use by date as far into the future as possible. Scrub produce under running water before preparing or eating; even if you are going to peel the fruit or vegetable. And keep produce separate from raw meats at all times; in shopping bags, in the refrigerator, and when you’re preparing food.

Long term effects of a Salmonella infection can be severe. Patients can develop reactive arthritis and inflammation of the heart and nerve endings. Reactive arthritis can cause heart problems, permanent vision loss, and temporary infertility. If you ate cucumbers and were sick, see your doctor as soon as possible for treatment.

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